Once upon a time in America

I started a group who danced at the beach, in the streets, in parks, had parties with live music, and taught lessons for free.  Oh yeah, and we had an all-girl performance group…

So there’s this guy named Art who’s all about starting a movement up here in Seoul, and I’m meeting him tomorrow to teach a couple others this rueda thing, but without the street in street salsa, it’s just not the same for me.  I tried to explain about the diy thing, but he’s too tapped into the club thing, I think because Seoul only knows that kind of scene and he’s trying to influence what little there is here.

It’s the chicken or the egg argument.  But I still think if we just danced on the street and taught beginners, we’d have twice as many interested people as we’d get from class trained, studio going, club going dancers.

So off I go tomorrow, but these are some fundamental differences of opinion, and if it proves to be in any way to have the commercial pallor of death to it, I’ll just be happy to sit and not watch. Art is good people and has a big heart, but the people have to be doing it for the love, or what’s the point?  So we’ll see…bring on the love, Seoul.  Bring on the love…

Once upon a time in America…

Will I be saying that a lot?  Wasn’t that a mafia film or something?

In other exciting news, I asked Jane to hook me up with a particular someone for a date.  He’s maybe a couple years older than me?   Or maybe the same age?  Always wears a seersucker blazer that needs ironing.  (OK.  So that clinched it for me) Volunteers a lot of his free time helping us radical, illiterate adoptees.  Anyway – not pretentious, distinguished by merit of some salt and pepper, comfortable in himself, and a good guy.  I forgot he doesn’t speak English, though, so don’t know how that would work or if it even can.  But what the hell.  I’m attracted to him, maybe I’ll like him, and it isn’t some schmo you don’t know from some place that leaves you feeling empty and hungover…

I also spent precious food money on some paper clay and am making a pose-able doll with what little supplies are available at E-mart.  It’s amazing what one can do with dixie cups and straws!  Paint will have to wait. Fabric I’m freaked out about.  I can’t imagine going to Dongdaemmon’s Fabric Mall, which is the size of a football field – literally and trying to find two perfect pieces of scrap.  Or even HOW to purchase fabric.  Do they also have the flat tables with the cranky older women with bad haircuts and even worse crafted up clothing who act like you ruined their day by asking for help?

And something is seriously wrong with my digestive system.  Anything I eat turns to liquid, and it coincided with summer vacation and not having at least one meal with lots of variety in it.   And working until all hours of the night and waking up whenver and sleeping whenever.  And I bought non lactose-free milk once because E-marte was closed and had that on my cereal, as well as  two convenience store lattes all in the same day, and now I think I have to give up milk entirely.  Is this old age, or just because I’m Asian and we’re not meant to drink milk?  Or is it just because I’m in Korea?

I think I’m finally getting to that point where, as long as I don’t deviate from the familiar or the routine, I can start to feel comfortable.  But there is always something potentially shocking right around the bend.  So I can choose to stay in this comfort zone and resolve to really like it here.  Or I can choose to be shocked and learn more.  Or I can be a cautious venturer, which is what I imagine turns those passing through into expats, as the learning is slow enough that they can hold onto their comfort bubble but there is enough newness to keep them interested.  Cultural tourist or refugee?  Crash and burn or slow and steady?  I think as long as there is adoption reform work, none of the above will bother me so much, as it occupies my free time and my fellow aliens are generous about explaining everything.

The thing that suffers is language acquisition, though.  There seems to only be room for language or reform work:  not both.

10 thoughts on “Once upon a time in America

  1. I was having the same bathroom issues, off and on for about 2 months. Couldnt decide if it was a bug, my nerves or something more serious. I would feel nausea and slight stomach pains intermittently during the day and it seemed to kick up at night. So much so, I began to question if I was “pregnant and didnt know it” (there’s actually a TV show on Discovery channel, which reenacts women plopping babies on bathroom floors or in toilets). I started eating every day, Activia, and it has really helped me. No more nausea, bloatiness or pain. This is only the third day, but it’s amazing how much better I feel.

  2. Well, apart from the digestive issues, this really sounds like YOU, Suki–the happy or at least curious, forward-looking YOU who we all love. It’s wonderful to have YOU back!



  3. What is Activia? Can I get it in Korea? I should google it…

    btw, some Koreans asked me what the American word for expelling gas was. (the entire world is 6 years old) and I told them, “fart.” The Korean expression is, “bomb.” Same word in either language – not a native idea.

  4. Rach,

    Apart from the digestive and rueda issues, I am really energized by how much damage we are doing to the adoption industry here.

    Rachel and Pierre,

    Rueda went well. Art is a little like a self-taught Russ. He packed in a HUGE list of moves in no time, he had about 16 people show up, and most of them did really well, as they weren’t beginners to salsa. I did what I always do, stand in where needed, try to reinforce concepts, and give the instructor feedback to make the class more effective. It’s always the same thing, of course, me wanting to promote Cuban street style and everyone else not really caring but the instructor being thoroughly Miami. Subtleties lost in the interest of the quickest return. But he was amenable to my street survival tips, and the owner and he were talking about obtaining a boom box…

  5. I am on day six and it’s still working. It’s ironic and sounds kinda wacky that I am using a dairy product to help me with dairy, the suspected primary cause for my symptoms, but I wanted to try this before going to the extreme of eliminating all dairy. In comparison to most Americans, I eat little dairy and eliminating it, would mean an extreme change for the entire family, which probably would not be well received. I have also found as I age, I have a lower tolerance for eggs, sugar and fried foods. Just in case you havent googled, Activia is a yogurt, which is supposed to have live cultures to regulate your bowels. I dont think they offer it in Korea. I got out of the habit for the past 6 months, mostly because I was tired of the taste, but for about a year I was eating Fiber One Honey Cluster cereal with 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed. If I missed a day, I felt bloated and weighed down. Now General Mills offers more choices, so once I get my two weeks in with the Activia, I plan on going back to my Fiber One, along with the Activia. Possibly adding fiber to your diet would help regulate you as dairy is probably not as much of an issue for you there. I cant believe how old I sound! LOL

  6. I came here to read and left without reading several times. These days, reading in English was taking my energy.

    Maybe diary product and kimchi doesn’t get along well for some people. That’s what I noticed after a third time I ate Korean foods for long period.

    Actually, I had problem with diary product since my adoption. I never drank milk with my family, neither at the orphanages, but Holt wrote in my paper that I was given milk and bread each day at the orphanage, another of their lies that hurt me (physically this time). Because of their lie, and all the benefits of milk according to westerners, my mother started forcing me to drink a big glass of milk after I got sick. Then, I got sick more and more each year.
    On my 7th year, a doctor prescribed me a non diary diet for months, and in that year, I had no asthma, no diarrhea, and I was full of enervy. However, my parents found it so difficult to follow a diet without diary product that I had reintroduce the diary food in my diet and I became sick again. About 10 years ago, all symptomes disappear miracously…

    Then, 4 years ago, I had severy allergy all the year around. The symptoms were so different than what I had before, I didn’t suspect the diary to be the cause again.

    Since a year, I have stopped all diary product, and I’m much healthier than I’ve never been since my adoption. The only difficulty for me is when people tell me I shouldn’t eliminate diary product completetly. It gets me angry, it just reminds me that I would have lived healthier if I had stayed in poverty in Korea.

  7. Thanks for the Activia suggestion. I checked it out, then wondered about a comparison of the active ingedient, bifodobacterium and acidophilus, which you can purchase as a supplement, and found this:

    In comparison to placebo, subjects randomized to Bifidobacterium experienced
    a significant reduction in pain, bloating, and bowel movement difficulty.
    Benefit with Lactobacillus was limited to an effect on pain in weeks 2 and 7
    only, and neither probiotic strain had any effect on the frequency of bowel
    movements. …The symptomatic response with Bifidobacterium was
    associated with parallel improvement in quality of life as assessed by using
    an IBS-specific instrument.[7,8] A follow-up 4 weeks after discontinuation
    of the treatment (washout period) showed that both symptoms and quality of
    life returned to baseline.

    The results showed a beneficial effect of probiotic bacteria in IBS.
    However, it must be kept in mind that data on the use of these agents in IBS
    are still very limited and not always consistent. (For example, a previous
    double-blind, placebo-controlled,­ randomized study showed beneficial effect
    of Lactobacillus plantarium in IBS.[9]) In addition, as emphasized by the
    investigators, it seems that the beneficial effect was short-term and

    Link – (above info is in the “A Role for Probiotics?” section):

    Many Korean foods are fermented and pro-biotic like yogurt is, and the diet is packed with natural fibers, as it uses more vegetables than western food.

    Until this month, I had assumed lactose intolerance to create hard curds in the intestines causing constipation, but actually it does the exact opposite. I decided to observe my milk reaction more closely, and sure enough, I AM lactose intolerant as evidenced by almost immediate liquidity of stools – but whenever I am not drinking milk, I am severely and chronically constipated and seem more symptomatic of IBS.

    It seems balancing a diet heavy in probiotics and low in milk would be the best thing for this aging Korean body, and guess what? That’s exactly what the Korean diet consists of. So I think I just need to quit eating Western food (except maybe Activia yogurt) and stick to Korean food.

    Now – what to do with all that salt and red pepper? I can’t believe that’s healthy at all…

  8. Well, you know my solution. Don’t worry about buying corporate anything, and just eat brussels sprouts until they come out your ears! Except maybe not in Korea. But sprouts are just a kind of cabbage, and we KNOW you have that. A Korean vegetable adventure sounds like heaven to me.

    Re Cuban street style–I obviously feel your pain.


  9. brussels sprouts!!!!

    I miss you/them!!!!

    Rueda still bores me, though. I’d love a good casino dance, but might as well forget that…

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